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Selection bias and misclassification in case–control studies conducted using the National Violent Death Reporting System
  1. Vivian H Lyons1,2,
  2. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar3,2,
  3. Avanti Adhia2,4,
  4. Noel S Weiss3
  1. 1Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  4. 4Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vivian H Lyons, Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; vlyons{at}uw.edu

Abstract

Conducting case–control studies using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) has the potential to introduce selection bias and misclassification through control selection. Some studies that use NVDRS compare groups of individuals who died by one mechanism, intent or circumstance, to individuals who died by another mechanism, intent or circumstance. For aetiological studies within NVDRS, the use of controls who had a different type of violent death has the potential to introduce selection bias, while relying on narrative summaries for exposure measurement may result in misclassification. We discuss these two methodological issues, and identify an unusual circumstance in which selection of live controls within NVDRS can be employed.

  • mechanism
  • case-control study
  • descriptive epidemiology
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @VivianHLyons

  • Contributors VHL prepared the manuscript and oversaw revisions and all four authors (VHL, AR-R, AA and NSW) contributed to the development of the article, critical review and final approval.

  • Funding This work was supported by funds from the State of Washington. VHL and AR-R are additionally supported by the FACTS (Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens) Consortium funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (1R24HD087149). AA is supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (5T32HD057822-09).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Author note It was not appropriate or possible to involve patients or the public in the design, conduct, reporting or dissemination plans of our research.

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